Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Orphans were indentured as recently as late 1800s

Leafing through an Illinois History Documentary Series, a broadside
advertising orphan children for indenture caught my attention.

A big headline proclaimed, "Asylum Children! A Company of Children,
mostly Boys, from the New York Juvenile Asylum, will arrive in ROCKFORD,
at the Hotel Holland, Thursday Morning, September 6, 1888, And Remain
Until Evening. They are from 7 to 15 Years of Age."

The announcement went on to say, "Homes are wanted for these children
with farmers, where they will receive kind treatment and enjoy fair
advantages. They have been in the asylum from one to two years and have
received instruction and training preparatory to a term of
apprenticeship, and being mostly of respectable parentage, they are
desirable children and worthy of good homes.

"They may be taken at first upon trial for four weeks, and afterwards,
if all parties are satisfied, under indentures?girls until 18, and
boys until 21 years of age.

"The indenture provides for four months schooling each year, until the
child has advanced through compound interest, and at the expiration of
the term of apprenticeship two new suits of clothes, and the payment to
the girls of fifty, and to the boys of one hundred and fifty dollars.

"All expenses for transportation will be assumed by the Asylum, and the
children will be placed on trial and indentured free of charge.

"Those who desire to take children on trial are requested to meet them
at the hotel at the time above specified. E. WRIGHT, Agent"


Most of us have heard of those "orphan trains" which came West and of
how hard some of those unfortunate children were forced to work in many
instances. Also, we've found it's almost impossible to trace the
genealogy of any of their descendants.


Oct. 9 was the anniversary of the great Chicago fire. The fire lasted 30
hours and caused $200,000,000 damage--a lot of money in 1871. The fire
destroyed 2,124 acres in the central part of the city. Ninety thousand
people were left homeless, and at least 300 lost their lives.

When you start to examine the family tree, You're bound to be taking
chances. Not so much on what you'll find at the roots, As what's apt to
fly out of some branches!

(This jingle by George W. Ladcke was printed in The Family Tree, Odom
Library, Georgia)


The Genealogy Library is open from 11 to 5 on Wednesdays.

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